The PNE Forum was alive and thumping with the devious music of Black Label Society last night. Opening the show was 2Cents, Clutch and Children of Bodom, who had the place in pure chaos by the time the headliners took front and center. Zakk Wylde proved to still retain his legendary presence and rocked hard and fast through his short set. BLS were on fire, and burnt that tin can to the ground.
Walking up to the forum, the lineup was the first thing to catch your eye. It wrapped itself almost completely around the building at one point. The impatient meat heads waiting to bust up the mosh pit, were standing in queue for nearly 45 minutes just to get in. The main reason for the lengthy wait, was the over thorough security. When asked why the searches were taking so long, they stated that they were making sure no illegal substances got in. Well I am glad I didn’t smell any weed in that arena.
I was in too late to catch Clutch, but the mess they left behind was statement enough. The floor was decimated the stage was littered in plastic beer cups, it was like a monsoon had touched down. As the evil geniuses behind Children of Bodom took the platform, it was a riot on the floor. The surge of the audience crushed the ones lining the fences, screams and sighs pressed from their lungs. Then the music started, and like a solid quivering mass of excitement, the cement floor came alive with bountiful energy.
COB were heavy and really beat their lyrics into your head. They didn’t have too much movement on the stage, which played out without notice, as their fans beat one another and jockeyed for position before them. But the lack of physical passion on stage seemed to strengthen their I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitudes. Where as most bands come out and jump around to prove a point these menaces stood still and made an even bigger point. Soon they vacated and the lull in the music, had the attendees flee for the beer gardens. Not too easy to fit 5,000 people into a hundred foot by hundred foot area; needless to say their were some shoving matches and displays of testosterone fueled rage.
Black Label Society took longer than usual to make it to the stage. The chants of the mass went on for nearly 35 minutes, some even worried there might not be a performance. Then it happened, the BLS stage sheet dropped and there stood Mr.Wylde and his associated. The set was hard and angry. They attacked each song like a wild ape, beating the rhythm with gusto and demonic grins. The pit before them grew in size and swallowed most who were standing without warning. Some of the young, green newcomers who had so eagerly fought to stay up front, were soon dragged away by security. It would seem some of them were pressed so hard they had blacked out. Whether it was from exhaustion or intoxication, it was a scary site to witness.
Zakk was on fire, standing before his disciples, his skull adorned mic stand acting as a sort of podium. He raised his bulls-eye styled Les Paul and strummed the devils magic. His fingers seemed to move without effort, as they jumped around the fretboard at an astonishing speed. The rest of the band was pulling the energy from their lead, and really working the space. They crept around like panthers as they dished out demonic licks.
The crowd was more involved then any single horde I have been privy too before. They fought each other, and worked hard to show their adoration for their musical messiah. But at no time was any soldier left behind, constantly the moshers motto took affect and hands were reached down to unlucky comrades.
The entire evening was powerful and crept into your skin like a poison. For hours after the performance you can feel the music rumbling through you. It takes you over. Zakk Wylde is the demon spawn of hells music factory. His dark under tones are combined with his masterfully poetic lyrics and create a crude slick sound, that anyone can enjoy. One thing you can say, is you do not attend a Black Label Society show, you experience it.
Children Of Bodom
Black Label Society
Photos are copyright of Jamie Taylor.